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Summer camps in Minnesota designed for military-connected youth

Spots are filling up for summer camps in Minnesota designed for military-connected youth ages 8-14.

"There are still 50 spots available at several different summer camps at little-to-no cost," said Kirsten Fisher, Youth Coordinator with Beyond the Yellow Ribbon.

In May 2,400 Minnesota Army National Guard service members of the Bloomington-based 1st Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, deployed in support of Operation New Dawn, said Fisher. This summer thousands of youth will be dealing with the separation from a military parent or family member and will benefit from the support they can receive from camp experiences with other military connected youth.

Camps offer an awesome opportunity for youth to process the deployment cycle at their own pace, said Fisher. Although youth are resilient, they have issues related to deployments such as anxiety, stress, confusion, relationship strain and increased responsibility at home. Further, military youth express that their peers don't understand what they are experiencing by being separated from a loved one in the military.

There are several camps all summer long available to Minnesota military families, said Fisher. Some that are filling up fast include;

Minnesota National Guard Youth & Teen Camps run during the last week of July and the first week of August at Camp Ripley and cost $150. The seven-day camp is loaded with activities like hiking onto a Camp Ripley training site for an overnight camping experience and opportunities to swim, bike and navigate using a compass. Registration deadline is June 30.

Voyageur Environmental Center in Mound has a July 10-13 session dedicated as Military Kids Week. Youth ages 8-14 can register for the four-day, activities-based camp at no charge. With archery, canoeing, swimming and campfires, this camp experience can create lifelong friendships and a passion for the outdoors.

Operation Military Kids offers both Family Camps and Adventure Youth Camps in July and August for $20.

Learn more about these and other summer camps currently offered by visiting the camp page at